In HamLit, students learn through active engagement! This residency leads students through games, activities, and discussions that aim to deepen and enliven their understanding of works of theatre and literature by evaluating material in the way a professional theatre company approaches a script. Tailored to fit each school’s specific goals, students may analyze characters through improv exercises, understand setting through drafting set designs, explore themes by creating marketing posters, explore a “table work” process to personalize stories, or apply concepts through performing scenes.
While most schools appreciate HamLit’s approach in helping students better understand Shakespeare, no English/Language Arts or Theatre class’ material is too difficult or too simple to be made more engaging by HamLit’s activities. Whether a classic Shakespeare play like “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” a mid-century novel like “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” or a new autobiography like Trevor Noah’s “Born a Crime,” HamLit gets students thinking, speaking, and embodying material in ways that create deep connections with the stories and text. Schools can choose for an Aggregate teaching artist (typically one artist per class) to teach from a bank of existing lesson plans or work with Aggregate on developing a new lesson to address particular interests or source materials. Each HamLit lesson uses a multi-modal approach that incorporates visuals (such as humorous slides or informative graphics) with adaptable, out-of-your-seat activities (such as “space walks” to physically embody a character or opinion spectrum exercises to personalize text). Lesson activities, vocabulary, and concepts can be tailored to the grade of the students, making a HamLit residency appropriate for elementary, middle, and high school levels.
Based in Raleigh, NC, Aggregate Theatre Company was created in 2017 with the mission of developing a younger (youth and young professionals) theatregoing audience in the Triangle. To date, Aggregate has produced ten shows, including eight world premieres. Aggregate’s productions have been eclectic in nature, varying from traditional stage plays (“The Stonewater Rapture”) to immersive workshop performances (“Vanya in Los Feliz”) to interactive experiences (“In Good Taste: Shakespeare at Brewery Bhavana”) and children’s productions (2018 Children’s Theatre Series). In addition to theatrical productions, Aggregate also has produced multiple audio dramas (“Stuck Stories” and “Giselle la Trent the Gazellephant”) and developed a theatre education branch that goes into schools and other public and private organizations to share the joy and inspiration of theatre.